When companies compete on the basis of customer experience, the metric that is most often used to gauge performance is customer satisfaction (CSAT). And while CSAT is certainly an important measurement for any company to track, it’s not the only (and probably not the most complete) one. Since CSAT is measured at the end of a customer interaction, it often reflects a customer’s state of mind once his or her issue has been resolved. But it doesn’t usually take into account the amount of frustration a consumer experiences while trying to resolve the issue.
Another measurement that may more accurately paint the picture of your customers’ frustration level is customer effort. In a recent study, Interactions found that nearly half of customers are already frustrated before they even reach out to your company. And 48% of those consumers who are frustrated before calling (or texting or chatting) remain so even after the interaction is complete.
Why is this?
The research suggests that the level of customer effort may be to blame. The majority of consumers are using research methods — such as reading blogs, forums, or company FAQs — before reaching out to your company. Meaning that they’ve already put in a significant amount of effort before even encountering your customer service channels, and are therefore unwilling to spend a lot of additional time or effort trying to resolve their problem. This time consumers are putting in to try and resolve issues on their own is impacting their frustration levels: 49% of respondents who used at least 1 research method before reaching out were frustrated by the time they reached a company’s customer service line, compared to only 27% of those who did no research beforehand.
Once a customer actually reaches your company, there are a number of issues that are driving up effort from that point forward. Most notably, survey respondents said:
- There are too many steps involved (57%)
- They feel like they are being prevented from reaching a human (45%)
- They have to spend too much time resolving their issue, given its complexity (34%)
It’s important for companies to pay attention to how customer effort is impacting frustration levels. Eighty percent of customers who had an unsatisfying experience said that this experience would impact their decision to purchase from the brand in the future. So poor experiences can often mean a lost opportunity in terms of loyalty and revenue for your company.
As companies become more competitive when it comes to customer experience, providing an easy, seamless path for your customers to get things done can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer. This means reducing the amount of effort and time your customers have to spend when they need to reach out.
Read more about Interactions recent research about customer effort and its impact on the customer experience.